Day 2 at the 2019 French Open was headlined on the men’s side by the debuts of 11-time champion Rafael Nadal and wWrld #1 and champion of the last three Grand Slam tournaments, Novak Djokovic. Both Nadal and Djokovic won their matches with predictable ease, showing why they’re considered the top two favorites to capture the trophy at the end of the fortnight.
But while this round was trouble-free for the top two seeds, the same can’t be said about other seeds and big names, who either struggled more than expected or saw themselves eliminated.
Who looked good:
Tommy Paul might have lost his match against Dominic Thiem, but he made it a very competitive contest, contrary to all expectations, playing at a very high level for the most part. After splitting the first two sets, Paul was up 4-0 in the third set tiebreak, mere three points away from going 2-1 up. From that point on, he sort of imploded and Thiem’s superior experience at this level prevailed, but Paul should still be proud of his performance and look to build on it.
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Pablo Carreno Busta had lost six consecutive matches, starting with his controversial set-set loss to Kei Nishikori in Melbourne Park. He hadn’t won a single match in over four months, but he snapped that negative streak in style, losing only six games to João Sousa in his Roland Garros opener. So far his only success this season has come at Slam level and he’ll be looking for another good run.
Benoit Paire won the title in Lyon last Saturday and he’s continued his winning streak by defeating Marius Copil today, losing only a game in the last 2 sets after dropping the 2nd set tiebreak. The mercurial Frenchman is always a threat to everyone on his day and he seems to have found some form recently.
Pablo Cuevas couldn’t have started the tournament better, dropping only eight games to Maxime Janvier in a match that lasted only 95 minutes.
Who looked bad:
Daniil Medvedev came into the tournament with high hopes after a strong clay season, where he reached semis in Monte Carlo (beating Novak Djokovic) and the final in Barcelona, but he lost a dramatic first round match to Pierre-Hughes Herbert 7-5 in the deciding set after leading 2-0. His game completely disintegrated after the first two sets and the Russian remains unable to make a big run at Slam level.
Nikoloz Basilashvili‘s favorite surface has never been clay, but it is still surprising to see the World #16 getting so unceremoniously dumped out in the first round by someone ranked outside the top 70. Juan Ignacio Londero dominated from beginning to end, dropping only eight games en route to victory.
Denis Shapovalov has had an awful clay season after making the semis in Miami, with his latest making his record 2-6 for the year on the surface. He ended the clay season the same way he began it in Monte Carlo, losing to Jan-Lennard Struff, only this time in straight sets.
Match of the day:
Chardy and Edmund are locked in at 5-5 in the 5th set after four hours of back-and-forth play, with the match set to resume tomorrow. Even though it didn’t finish, it was clearly the most exciting, tight and unpredictable match of the day, between two players with massive forehands, who hit plenty of scorching winners all throughout the four hours of play.